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Why was the bell executed in Russia, or the Ringing, which proclaimed the beginning of the Time of Troubles
Why was the bell executed in Russia, or the Ringing, which proclaimed the beginning of the Time of Troubles

At the end of the 16th century, a very, very strange event took place in the Russian city of Uglich. A huge alarm bell was pulled out to the city square. A specially summoned blacksmith, in front of all honest people, cut off the "tongue" (inner tongue) of the bell and cut off its "ears" (the devices for which it is hung). After that he was scourged and exiled to Siberia along with a part of the Uglich people. Why was the bell executed?

Boriska for the kingdom?

When Ivan the Terrible died in 1584, he had only two sons left. None of them fit the role of king. The eldest son, Fyodor Ivanovich, was shy, timid, sickly and very pious. He could pray and meditate for hours. Fedor was the complete opposite of his father. The youngest son, Dmitry, was a one-year-old baby. Lacking a worthy heir to the throne, Ivan the Terrible was forced to appoint Boris Godunov as Fyodor's regent. So he began to rule on his behalf. Fedor reigned, Boris ruled - everyone knew this both in Russia and abroad. Dmitry and his mother were sent to Uglich to "reign".

Seven years passed in this way. Then an event occurred that changed the entire course of the history of Russia. Dmitry Ivanovich was found dead with his throat cut. Suspicions naturally fell on Boris Godunov and his supporters. This was followed by a violent riot in Uglich. As a result, lynching was carried out over fifteen of the boy's alleged killers. Godunov immediately sent troops, and the riots were quickly suppressed, and the rioters were arrested. Not even the bells were spared.

Death of Tsarevich Dmitry

What did the bells mean

In the Russian Orthodox faith, it is believed that every bell has a soul. They are actually alive and very much like people. The church bell was considered a full-fledged inhabitant of a village or city at that time. They had names similar to those of humans, and the body parts of the bell were named after parts of the human body. The Russian bell had a head, loin, lip, tongue and ears.

In Russia it has long been believed that the bell has a soul

Church bells occupy a mysteriously important place in Russian history and culture. Father Roman told me that their ringing is known to lead to the repentance of stingy or hard-hearted people and discourage potential murderers and suicides. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov falls into a fever of guilt when he hears the ringing of Sunday church bells; he betrays himself by returning to the crime scene and compulsively ringing the murder victim's doorbell. In War and Peace, the Kremlin bells ring during Napoleon's invasion, causing concern to the Grande Armée. Bells, considered animate in Russian folklore, wield tremendous power over humanity - a power that has lain dead or dormant for most of the twentieth century. The New Yorker, April 2009

Belfry in Novgorod

The anthropomorphism of church bells has one drawback. Again and again they were tortured and punished as human criminals for calling at the wrong time or for the wrong person.

Execution of the Uglich bell

For inciting a riot, Godunov ordered to remove the alarm bell of Uglich and drag it to the city square. There the blacksmith tore out the bell's tongue and cut off the ears. He was also flogged. Then he was exiled to Siberia along with the rebels.It took about 60 families from Uglich a year to haul the incredibly heavy bell to Tobolsk.

The exiled bell of Uglich

When the bell arrived at the place, the local authorities locked it in a prison and made an inscription on it: "The first inanimate exiled from Uglich." Years later, the bell was installed in St. Sophia Cathedral, where it was used for timestamping and fire alarms.

In 1892, at the behest of Emperor Alexander III, in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of exile, the bell was "pardoned". The delegation of the Uglich people took the bell to Uglich, where it was kept until now.

Moscow, USSR. Restorers are carrying out repair work on the belfry of the Spasskaya Tower

Dmitry was killed?

Although the events unfolding around the Uglich bell look strange, the death of Tsarevich Dmitry looks even more strange. At first glance, everything is simple. The actual ruler was Boris Godunov, and the elimination of a competitor was in his hands. Such stories in the struggle for the throne probably do not surprise anyone. This theory has only one weak point. Tsarevich Dimitri could not claim the throne. He was the son of Ivan by his fifth wife (or perhaps the seventh), which made him illegitimate by canon law, since the Russian Orthodox Church allowed a maximum of three marriages. By killing Dmitry, Godunov would have received nothing. But the country paid for it with decades of bloody chaos, called the Time of Troubles.

Historians are inclined to think that the death of Tsarevich Dmitry was not at all profitable for Boris Godunov

This gives place to another theory, however unlikely it may seem: Dmitry's death was accidental. But how could a prince accidentally stab himself in the throat? Historical evidence suggests that the boy suffered from epilepsy. Modern historians now believe that Dmitry was playing with a knife when he had an epileptic seizure. As a result, this tragedy happened. Most likely, the boy was playing pile, a knife throwing game in which the knife is held so that the blade is directed towards the body. Thus, Dmitry could inflict a wound on himself in the agony of a terrible seizure.

Other bells that were punished

The execution of the Uglich bell was not an isolated incident in history. As already mentioned, in Russia bells were treated as individuals, subjected to trials and executions. Bells were often removed from their towers after the capture of the city. In 1327, after suppressing an uprising against the Mongol-Tatar tax collectors, the Moscow prince Ivan Danilovich Kalita (1288-1340) burned down the city and took possession of the bell. It was transported to Moscow and melted down.

Removal of the Novgorod Veche Bell

The same fate befell the bell of the Novgorod veche. In 1478, after the conquest of Novgorod by Ivan III of Moscow, he ordered to remove the veche bell from the bell tower. Veche was the highest legislative and judicial body of the republic, and its bell was a symbol of republican sovereignty and independence. Taking control of the city would not have been final without taking it over.

If you are interested in the history of this era, read our article. secrets of the biography of the virgin queen who refused Ivan the Terrible: Elizabeth I.

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